Sea-ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF)

University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
What the facility does

Arctic sea ice and climate change research

Areas of expertise

The Sea-ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF) is the first experimental sea ice facility in Canada, capable of growing various types of sea ice under controlled conditions for the study of sea ice properties and processes across the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere interfaces.

Research services

Creation of various types of sea ice, remote sensing techniques, sea ice geophysical and biogeochemical analysis, oil-sea ice interactions, developing and testing of marine, cryospheric, or sub-zero temperature technologies

Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Arts and cultural industries
  • Chemical industries
  • Construction (including building, civil engineering, specialty trades)
  • Defence and security industries
  • Education
  • Energy (renewable and fossil)
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Mining, minerals and metals
  • Ocean industries
  • Policy and governance
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
  • Transportation
  • Utilities



Sea ice pool

An outdoor pool that allows us to growth and melt sea ice under controlled conditions

TOC-TN analyzer (Thermalox, Analytical Sciences)

Analysis of total organic carbon and total nitrogen at ultra-low levels in seawater matrix

CO2 chamber flux system (LI-COR 8100)

Real-time measurement of diffusive CO2 flux from water and ice

Glovebox (LABmaster SP, mBraun)

Creation and maintenance of a controlled environmental for the study of gaseous phase reactions

C and L band microwave fully polarimetric scatterometers

Determination of the geophysical and thermodynamic evolution of sea ice for calibration to Radarsat II and RCM

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system

Sea Ice surface topography for momentum exchange and radarsat scattering calibration

Two (2) large fiberglass, outdoor ice tubs Study of the transport and degradation of oil and oil products in the sea ice environment
  • Aarhus University (Denmark)
  • Canadian Ice Service
  • European Space Agency
  • Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
  • Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology
  • University of Calgary
  • Royal Holloway University of London (UK)
  • Roma Tre University (Italy)
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • European Commission Horizon 2020 Program
  • Sapienza University of Rome
  • University College of London

  • Genome Canada

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada



Arctic sea ice 'frost flowers' in bloom at University of Manitoba lab (CBC, Jan. 18, 2016)…

Manitoba research centre tackles tough questions on vanishing Arctic sea ice (Globe and Mail, March 15, 2013)


The Arctic in a pool: Simulator grows sea ice for research (NBC News, Feb. 28 , 2013; LiveScience, Feb. 27, 2013)


Fire and Ice – Passion ignites innovative design data (ResearchLIFE, University of Manitoba, Issue 9, 2013)


Unique lab explores mysteries of Arctic sea ice (The Globe and Mail, April 25, 2012)


Frost Flowers Pump Pollution (CBC Quirks and Quarks, March 10, 2012)


Researchers bring Arctic to city (Winnipeg Free Press, Feb. 9, 2012)